Sunday, 5 August 2018

If I Thought You'd Care


(An ode to a medievalist's struggle with sharing a passion for monastic and ecclesiastic architecture! Credit to the Cistercian ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, West Yorkshire, for being an inspiration for yet another piece: your beauty has a lot to answer for.)     

I’d tell you she’s older, than countries,
if I thought, for a moment, you cared to share my raptures;
of how she keeps me there
with no more
than the heat in her ancient bones,
how she breathes life into me,
with only her sun-soaked stones of yellow,
and reddening hue, I would want to tell
you, and only you, how her crockets
sit against the sky,
in an azure, sunset, as I taste
the wine, an elixir,
that creeps, deep into my heart,
filled with something burning,
in this place of quiet calm;
where the grass,
between your toes and time has always stood still – I would tell you
how it looks, for all the world,
just like the window sills,
are in reach from the buttress tops, and how I know,
from countless leaps, they are not – not least to me,
to climb inside,
after hours, on a summer’s night -
or sit, atop her walls,
and capture all of the details too
small and too far away,

envious of the birds that
roost and play, up there, on her broken tower,
I would tell you, hour on hour, bottle on bottle,
on a blanket,
laid where history walked,
how she could expel my tumultuous thoughts, time
and again,
with vaulting that runs like arteries and veins along the
aisles of her roofless nave, topped
by a Romanesque crown,
her dog-tooth arches,
staring serenely down at heavy columns, and tiled floors, turned to dust,
I would tell you of my aching
lust, for the way the light caresses her at dusk, and the stars,
seep through,
the last of the milky light;
the way it lands, tender
and slight, on the jagged edges
of her ruined splendour 
in approaching night…if I thought, for a minute,
you would listen; I would glow, and show you
how her windows, still glisten,
for me,
in the eye of my mind; her walls still painted,
and colour-rich, through even the tiniest find that reminds
of what once was,
and beguiles, with what is still there…
oh, for you…I could talk
a painting with words, on her,
if only I thought you would care.


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